The first thing that comes to mind when I think of wanderers in the bible is the account of the Israelites in the wilderness. There was a destination to reach: the promised land. But rather than a straight line journey, they wandered on their way there. Ready to leave the bonds of slavery, the plan seemed easy enough: follow Moses. Yet it wasn’t many days into the journey when it was apparent there were things that had to be dealt with. Old habits, attitudes, opinions and emotions surfaced that revealed there would be more to this journey than arriving in Canaan. It is clear in the story that their stubbornness was the primary reason they wandered for so long. I can identify. Their actions and attitudes kept them in a cycle of wandering with very little progress towards the goal. Been there, done that, too.
Wandering by definition means to move around usually without purpose or direction. Life teaches us that this is bad or wrong. We make plans upon plans, we write down our personal goals, we make lists, we form business plans, we have middle schoolers and early high schoolers under the pressure of deciding what direction their education will go over the next four to eight years. We are asked what we are going to do, what we want to “be”, and where we will be next year, in five years, and ten years from now. To answer “I don’t know” to any of these pressures is to appear lazy and lacking sufficient motivation.
While all of these strategies (minus the ridiculous notion that a thirteen year old has a clear vision of where their life is going) are very useful in the business world and in maintaining a certain order in our home lives, I wonder how much we try to carry over into our spiritual lives which becomes the very reason we continue to go round and round certain mountains. Perhaps we stubbornly hold onto a worldly concept that slows down our spiritual progress. What if God wants us to wander??
“…when God caused me to wander…” Genesis 20:13
Abraham heard the call of God on his life and he followed. God led him to pack up all his things and begin a journey. He didn’t know where he was going but he started walking. He started wandering. The Israelites wandered because of a lack of faith. Abraham wandered full of faith.
I am not entirely comfortable with this season of wandering. It feels foolish to not know exactly where I am headed and to resist the temptation to plan every step. It stings my pride a bit to answer “I don’t know” when asked about my plan. But I want to learn from Abraham. I want to dream of the promises God has planted in my heart without taking it upon myself to make it happen. I want to move when He says move and stay when He says stay. I want to walk so full of faith that when God changes my direction there is no hesitation on my part. I want to embrace when God causes me to wander.
“When God caused me to wander” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com